HOUSTON - It's barely two weeks into the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season and already the models are sniffing trouble in the northwest Caribbean Sea late next week. Keep in mind it's only the potential of development and not the guarantee of.
Currently since this model 'cane is beyond the five to seven day window, the National Hurricane Center has yet to make any official statement regarding potential development.
So what's all the hullabaloo about?
Over the last few days, many of the global forecasting models including the big names GFS (American) and ECMWF (Euro) models are in steady agreement that the monsoonal gyre over the Caribbean will give birth to some sort of organized system by next weekend. That could be anything from a weak tropical depression to a tropical storm or perhaps even something stronger.
This time of year it's not so uncommon for a single model to initiate cyclogensis (develop). A single model developing a tropical system is one thing -- especially if said model is not overly reliable; the Canadian model for example. However it's quite another when nearly all the global models are showing the same thing including timing and location of the potential development. That includes the primary models of the GFS and Euro. All models below are provided by TropicalTidbits.com:
As seen in the latest model runs of each selected model above, the location in which the models wants to develop a system is nearly identical. Not shown in the pictures is the timing which is also consistent with a Saturday or Sunday birth; the Canadian (CMC) being the fastest to crank up a system on Saturday morning and the Euro being the slowest with a 6 a.m. Sunday start time.
Where will it go
The problem with a forecast this far out is that nearly everything that can go wrong, will. Placement and strength (or lack thereof) of ridges and troughs (highs and lows) can and will greatly impact the direction of any storm that may develop. It's just simply too soon to know for sure. We won't, nor the models, will have a clear idea until after the storm develops --- if it does at all.
What would a potential storm look like?
Here's a tweet from Michael Lowry that I think sums it up best:
What do Florida June tropical cyclones look like? Big and messy. Here are the last three via satellite. pic.twitter.com/8M8NRe1s3o— Michael Lowry (@MichaelRLowry) June 2, 2016
Lowry was referring to Florida tropical storms but I think it's a good measure of most gulf tropical storms early in the season. June tropical systems are usually weak, sheared and lopsided systems. They are prolific rain makers and can cause catastrophic mudslides and severe flooding. Just think "Tropical Storm Allison."
While it's too early to know for sure, this system likely will not become a hurricane. History says so. Part of that is because the waters are usually only marginally warm enough for development and the trade winds are still screaming through the sub-tropics.
To see development of a hurricane in the gulf so early on is pretty rare. In fact the last June hurricane in the gulf was Alex in 2010. Before that? You'd have to go back to 1995! As for major hurricanes, there are only two on record: Audrey in 1957 and Alma in 1966 according to The Weather Channel.
There is nothing you need to do at this time. In fact as of this entry it's a lovely evening over the open waters of the Caribbean with mostly clear skies and light winds. Any potential development is still 7 to 10 days away. At this time the only thing that we advise you to do is to keep up-to-date with the latest weather info at least once a day. As development becomes imminent and the track becomes more clear more instruction will become necessary. Until then, rest easy!
By the way, the next name on the list is Bret.
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